Harsh words uttered by New Line cochairman Bob Shaye in an interview with Sci Fi Wire appear to have all but nixed any chance for Lord of the Rings auteur Peter Jackson to helm the Hobbit trilogy. With a nod to Jackson's lawsuit against New Line, which seeks to sort out a financial anomaly born of an audit of the original LOTR film, Shaye said, "I don't care about Peter Jackson anymore. He wants to have another $100 million or $50 million, whatever he's suing us for. He thinks we owe him something after we've paid him over a quarter of a billion dollars. Cheers, Peter."

In response, says Reuters, Jackson issued a statement saying he only seeks to hold New Line "to its contractual obligations and promises. It is regrettable that Bob has chosen to make it personal."